Australia beat South Africa by three wickets in the World Cup semifinal at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata last Thursday, Nov. 16. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first before being all out for 212. Australia then chased the target down with three wickets and 16 balls to spare.
The Aussies will take on hosts India in the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday. It will be repeat of the 2003 World Cup final that Australia won quite easily.
Australia pacers made South African top-order suffer, as Miller fought a lone battle
Under an overcast sky, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc made the new ball talk and restricted the Proteas to 28/4. That was a hammer blow that South Africa could never really recover from. Hazlewood bowled with a fine seam position and moved the ball into the right-handers consistently.
His first spell on the day was probably the best one by any fast bowler in the tournament so far, as he picked up two wickets off his eight overs, conceding only 12 runs.
Starc also swung the ball back into the right-handers from over the wicket. Both of the new-ball bowlers beat the bat regularly and were virtually unplayable with some moisture on the pitch. However, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen then forged a partnership to take them towards a respectable total.
Miller hit a few over-boundaries off Adam Zampa, who failed to turn the ball much. Travis Head replaced him and got two quick wickets to put Australia back in front. Glenn Maxwell also bowled well, but Pat Cummins went for a lot of runs and his decision not to make Hazlewood bowl his full quota of overs was a questionable one to say the least.
Miller scored a valiant century to take South Africa past 200, but then the Australians managed to bowl them out. It was a fighting total, but the Australians should have fancied their chances of chasing it down during the break.
South African bowlers had an impact as Australian batters made a heavy weather of the run chase
Australia were off to a blistering start and David Warner and Travis Head put the South African pacers to sword. However, some of their batters were a bit too aggressive and threw away their wickets.
Head made a brilliant 62 off 48 balls before getting dismissed. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne forged a brief partnership. However, Labuschagne went for a very questionable reverse sweep off Tabrez Shamsi and was trapped in front of the wicket.
When the two South African spinners, Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj, were bowling in tandem and turning the ball a long way, an established batter like Labuschagne should have shown better application and patience.
The same was true for Smith, who went for a slog and skied his shot off Gerald Coetzee, who bowled with a lot of venom. Josh Inglis then showed superb technique against the spinners to make 28 priceless runs before getting dismissed off a superb yorker by Coetzee.
After Inglis’ dismissal, Starc and Cummins forged an unbeaten partnership, checking their instincts to go for big shots and take singles primarily to steer the Aussies home.